Spoonty is an emerging producer on the Sydney scene, having started playing shows in 2012 and releasing the highly listenable free-for-download Feels. Today he has followed this release with his first official EP, Up Here, in the Future. We spoke with him over the weekend to uncover the inner workings of an interesting new sound.
Nick Hollins: How long have you been into the production of ridiculously blissed out beats? I’m listening to the new EP again now and it starts with real tripped out siren call samples and synth swells on the opener ‘Bloom.’
Spoonty: I started mucking around trying to make beats in 2009, it wasn’t until about two years later that I started making songs that would show up on my first release.
Nick: Right so you started making beats in 2009, and then the material you’ve released previously was produced through 2011?
Spoonty: Yeah, I think that’s around the time I started to establish some sort of sound and knew more what I was doing, and slowly becoming obsessed with making beats all day and night.
Nick: Cool. That’s great man. What kind of equipment and programs do you use? What’s your process like?
Spoonty: I use Ableton Live to put everything together, as for hardware, I have a Novation Launchpad that I use sometimes to play with ideas on arranging cut up samples, but it’s mostly used for my live show. I like being able to use just my computer and a mouse to make tunes because I can do it anywhere. For example, two songs on the new EP were mostly written on the train home from the city. A lot of textural sounds on Feels were recorded with this crappy logitech usb mic that I had. When it broke I went and bought this sort of expensive mic but haven’t been able to get the same sound that I liked from the old one. My process, I hardly know, it’s all experimentation and trying new things. The only consistant thing is that every song starts with me looking around weird places on the internet to find interesting and obscure things to sample.
Nick: That’s inspiring to me that you’re making some of this stuff on the train home from the city. I make the same commute constantly. This is a super naff point to make, but is there something in the motion of the landscape along the mountains line that lends itself to your sound?
Spoonty: I think in my older songs, on Feels, there’s a strong mountains influence on a lot of the songs. This new EP though is pretty much all from my imagination. I’ve lived in the mountains so long and have taken the same train trip every day that I’ve stopped looking out the window and have gone into my own little world. No doubt, I’m sure my music wouldn’t be the way it is if it wasn’t for where I lived.
Nick: If you’re looking inward in your production, to what extent are you creating music with an audience in mind? Is this music intended for any particular thing? Is it simply an experimental project, casting pleasant sounds together, or do you want people to get up and dance?
Spoonty: When I first started it was just me making sounds and putting them on the internet and having fun. Now that I’ve started playing live, I’ve definitely had the audience in mind when making music. I love playing live and love the idea of having a really fun show. That said if I’m not in the mood to make more dance-ish music, I won’t. I just do what’s fun for me to make.
Nick: Who did you make contact with to start playing shows in Sydney? Did some people pick up on your tracks online?
Spoonty: I just sent a CD of a few songs into FBi Radio. They put them in the rotation, and after a few weeks I was asked to come on for an interview. After that people started emailing me to play shows. After FBi got involved then I started getting a lot more online attention. I really have to thank FBi for all they’ve done and I’m really happy that we have such a thing in Sydney.
Nick: Absolute. FBi rules. So now, what do you have to say about your new record, Up Here, in the Future? You’ve made something pretty awesome. If this is you looking inward, are there any producers or musical influences that you’ve been into since you were younger that have inspired this piece of work? Or is it simply the result of experimentation and discovery through production?
Spoonty: I’ve always loved hip-hop, it’s basically all I listen to. While my older stuff was inspired by hip-hop production, I was a little more eager to let more of my hip-hop love to come out in this EP. Still, a lot of it is still me just trying to translate thoughts and imagery I have in my head into sound, so it’s still quite experimental I guess.
Nick: It does have some nice heavy kicks and 808 sounding snare hits in there. Which is cool amidst the spacey-as-fuck sound of the samples you’re using.
Spoonty: Yeah I guess that’s me trying to make music that’s really fun to rave to live, but also not leaving my chilled, hazy sound that you can listen to at home on your headphones on a lazy night. I love 808 and 909 sounds.
Nick: It’s those kicks and snares that suggested to me that this stuff would be magic live. How have audiences been reacting to your stuff so far? What’s been your favourite so far?
Spoonty: I love playing live, and always seem to get a really good reception from the audience. My favorite show I’ve played was at Oxford Art Factory put on by Lonely Kids Club. It was a bit of a rave up haha. Yeah that was fun. I’m really excited to play all this new stuff live at my upcoming shows, I feel like my live show is going to get so much more exciting.
Nick: Who are some of your favourite producers from around Sydney?
Spoonty: From Sydney, I love Moonbase Commander, so much fun. James IV Stewart, he has a few tracks online and is due to have an EP out with The Finer Things label soon. Meare is great, Nakagin, Fishing of course, Collarbones. There’s so much good music in this city.
Nick: Rich times for sure. I like that clip for ‘Let’s Glow.’ Is that you wandering about in the mountains and stuff?
Spoonty: Nah it’s actually Centennial Park. Matt Blanch did it all. He also did a clip for Meare, so look him up.
Nick: Are you interested at all in video production? Any chance you might start producing your own video clips along with tracks?
Spoonty: I’m very interested in video, I’ve made all my own visuals for my live show and I love collaging things together in Photoshop and animating them. So I’m looking to make a video on my own at some point.
Nick: Oh that’s awesome you’ve made visuals for your show. Somehow I figured that being a producer, combining the music with videos is a natural progression. I’ve noticed that you’re buds with Wheat Fields. Is there a bit of a music scene out here in the mountains? How long have you known those folks? Any other bands we should know about?
Spoonty: Oh yeah! They’re just a bunch of my friends. I’ve known them for quite a while. We all have a collective called Tangible and we have two mixtapes out. It’s all just our friends’ music that we love. There’s a bunch of Wheat Fields tracks on those that people might have missed.
Nick: That’s awesome dude. Is Niandra Lades, MERCURYFUR and Dreambox alternate monikers for any of the Wheat Fields people, or of other friends of yours?
Spoonty: Yeah they’re all connected to at least one person in Wheat Fields, except for MERCURYFUR which is our friend Zephyr.
Nick: Oh cool, real name Zephyr? Mountains, am I right?
Spoonty: Yeah hahaha.
Nick: Ha, sorry i just moved here recently. Do you have any gigs coming up soon that our readers can get along to? Are you staging a launch for Up Here, in the Future?
Spoonty: Yah! Two coming up in Melbourne, this Saturday the 29th of June at Rats with Cosmo’s Midnight and Oisima. Then on the 4th of July at Laundry in Melbourne. My friend is setting it up and making the poster and I think we’re going to make that one the launch for the EP, but I’m still figuring that out, I’ll be headlining there though. Then later in July on the 25th I’ll be playing in Sydney at Cherax Destructors Album Launch at Oxford Arts Factory. Then the next day, the 26th in Wollongong at Sensei Says with Meare.
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